Montreal, Canada

TIM DARCY (OUGHT)

Saturday Night, the first proper solo album from Tim Darcy (of Montreal’s Ought), comes from one of those crossroads-type moments in life where one has to walk to the edge before knowing which way to proceed. Darcy actually almost bailed on the session at the start of day one, but was thankfully convinced to make the jump and record a crop of songs he had been amassing over the years–an initial set, curated from a much wider catalogue of young songs. A personal meditation reveals itself across this set as you feel a poetic, thoughtful person attempting to reconcile a schism, one that grows more expansive as Saturday Night flows along. It is a journey, but it’s a really fun, gratifying one; like a poem where you’re not supposed to know exactly how to feel at that last line and you’re left just bursting with a wonderful emptiness.

Saturday Night feels not just coherent but constant. Each track is woven to the next in a winding, complex journey through a charged, continuous present. It weaves through Smiths-esque melodies; more new wave punk; 60s AM pop; and ambient collages — all led by Darcy’s unmistakable, commanding voice. His voice and lyrical phrasing are — as they are in Ought – instruments here. Vital to the entire affair. He over-enunciates. He makes mantras out of molehills. He whoops and croons. He makes damn sure you know there are no tossed-off lines here.

There’s a line in “Tall Glass of Water,” the album’s Velvet Underground-nodding opening track for which a video premiered at NPR this morning, where Darcy asks himself a rhetorical question: “if at the end of the river, there is more river, would you dare to swim again? He barely pauses before the answer: Yes, surely I will stay, and I am not afraid. I went under once, I’ll go under once again.” That river shows up again and again in the lyrics of Saturday Night; it’s about how wonderful it can be to feel in touch with that inner current. It’s about how good it feels to make art, and how terrifying; how you don’t always get to choose whether you’re swimming or drowning as we grow and move through life, just that you’re going to keep diving in. That’s the impulse that links all the songs on Saturday Night, makes them glow.